Burlington Area School District addresses racial incidents

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BURLINGTON, Wis. -- In the fall of 2020, there were five racial incidents that happened in the Burlington Area School District. The district says a group of parents accused the district of not holding students accountable for their actions.

That’s why on Thursday, Feb. 18, the district posted a four-page letter on its "educating for equity" website. The letter addressed each of the incidents and detailed the steps taken by the district.

“If we can continue that transparency throughout the district and just let us know that when things are reported they are being looked into," Laura Bielefeldt said. Bielefeldt's son attends Burlington High School.

In the letter, the district says typically they don’t tell parents about their investigations or any student disciplinary action. They want to protect students' privacy.

“I understand respecting the privacy of minors and the kids who were involved. I also understand protecting the emotional well-being of kids hurt by that," Paula Wilson said. She has a son who attends Burlington High School as well. 

For each of the five incidents, the disciplinary action varied.

For the students involved, it included suspension, doing an assignment on equity, apologizing to their peers, and in some cases a hate crime violation charge.

“Knowing that according to what the school district put out, they have some disciple in these situations, that definitely is helpful," Bielefeldt said.

The district says when people post information on social media about these incidents, it interferes with the district’s ability to give students involved due process.

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